The process of shooting a basketball happens in a second or two and, yet, is a complex, compound movement. To understand the components of a healthy shot, we need to break the movement down into simpler sub-components that can be analyzed and understood in isolation. Then, basketball shooting drills become a great way to perfect these skills, step-by-step.
The shooting process itself can be broken down to three (3) smaller steps, 1. Gripping the ball/hand positioning, 2. Raising the ball to the shooting “pocket” (point of shot release) and 3. Releasing the shot from the pocket.
Many people only consider the “stroke” of shooting (Step 3), which is really just tip of the iceberg. Step 3, or the release, is built on the foundation of Step 1 and Step 2, which consist of getting the ball to ready position, the shooting pocket.
Furthermore, the many types of shots that are utilized in a game for a balanced attack can be classified into three fundamental categories with shooting 1. Stationary (standing still) 2. off the pass 3. off the dribble. That’s it. There are niche shots (think finger rolls, hook shoots, running floaters) but all shots in a game fall into one of these three categories.
Becoming a smooth shooter begins with targeting and practicing basketball shooting drills that perfect these skills first in isolation and then in harmony. Start with the simple. Bringing the ball from the waist into the shooting pocket and repeating until it’s comfortable and 2nd nature and then eventually progress to compound movement drills like shooting on the move and focusing on footwork and rhythm. It’s essential to perfect the smaller skills and processes before the complex because any efficient complex process is only a function of its smaller, simpler ones.
Some of the biggest and common mistakes to avoid practicing shooting drills are,
– shooting too far away from the basket – “pushing” the shot with two hands – not using enough legs for power
These pitfalls will develop bad habits and mechanics that are difficult to correct later. Practice is perfect is not quite accurate. The truth is perfect practice makes perfect. Repetition with poor fundamentals does more harm than good. It’s worse than not practicing at all since additional practice is needed just to unlearn these bad habits. This is yet another reason to perfect Step 1 and then move to Step 2 before working on Step 1, 2 and 3.